Reminder: 2017 CT Flower and Garden Show 02/23 – 02/26

We want to remind all Shelton gardeners that The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut 2017 Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, “Woodland Enchantment,” is this weekend from Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Harford.

What can you find at the show?  Gardeners from around the state will be featuring specimens in an Advanced-Standard flower show.  Educational exhibits of the theme “Mighty Woods” will offer gardening, forest, and ecology information from groups such as UCONN Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Greenhouses, Rhododendron Society of CT, CT Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), and CT Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG). You’ll also be able to browse a wide variety of goods and services vendors, from plants, seeds, fertilizers, and bed kits to shed builders, landscaping heavy equipment, and landscape designers.

For more information, including show times, directions, and ticket price, please see the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut show flier, available on their website.

Shelton Garden Club Meeting: “The Gardens of Williamsburg”

The next meeting of the Olde Ripton Garden Club of Shelton will be held on Monday, March 6 at 10 am at the Plumb Memorial Library, 65 Wooster St. downtown Shelton.

The meeting will feature a program on “The Gardens of Williamsburg” with speaker Sandy Nesteriak, a long-time Club member and a frequent visitor to the Gardens of Williamsburg. Continue reading

How Much Does a Snowstorm Help Drought Conditions?

Connecticut saw a major snowstorm today, including thundersnow, blizzard warnings in sections of the state, and overall snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour.  Shelton had a total accumulation of approximately 10 inches.

What does snowfall mean in terms of moisture?  NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) explains that 13 inches of snow typically equals 1 inch of rain.  This can vary, depending on snow’s lightness or sleet-like qualities.1  Therefore, Continue reading

The Continuing Connecticut Drought — Conserving Water in Winter

Take a look at the ground in your yard, and you may note distressingly parched turf, powdery and loose even in the cold weather.  In October 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 15% in “Drought Watch” areas and by 10% in “Drought Advisory” areas.  Connecticut has had three consecutive years of precipitation shortfall, with some drinking water reservoirs now less than half full.  Unfortunately, this water shortage is continuing into 2017, and recovery will need continuing conservation efforts from residents. Continue reading

Wildlife and the Winter Garden

Part of Our “Making Your Garden Work for You” 2016-2017 Theme Series

As we pass the mid-point of January, we enter the deepest phase of winter – which brings to New England the coldest temperatures and heaviest precipitation. A glance out your window or a brisk walk through your yard or a park, however, will show that winter is anything but desolate. Squirrels continue to scurry from undergrowth to tree, and branches are alight with a variety of overwintering birds.

In November, we discussed the important role gardens can play in the ecosystem, with members Renee Marsh (past ORGC president and master gardener) and Joyce Fedorko (Horticulture Chair) presenting garden bed preparation considerations and information on soil and wildlife needs. Here in the coldest months of the year, gardeners can see the payoff of this advice. Continue reading


CT Flower & Garden Show – “Woodland Enchantment” Feb 23-26, CT Convention Center, Hartford. Federated Garden Club Members pay $12.00 per ticket in advance ($16.00 at the door). Renee Marsh and Kimberly Wehger will be participating in the Photograpy Competition. This is a major fundraiser for Federated so let’s get a good turn-out and cheer Renee and Kimberly on!

Ticket orders must be received by Feb. 1. Send checks made out to: Olde Ripton Garden Club to Diane Moran, 56 Cloverdale Avenue, Shelton.

ORGC Wreaths around Shelton

All around Shelton, wreaths designed and created by Olde Ripton Garden Club (ORGC) are on display!  At our December 5th meeting, we held a wreath-making workshop to prepare decorations for the community.  The beautiful creations from our members can now be viewed at businesses and public buildings throughout town.  For ORGC, giving back to the residents of Shelton is an important part of our club mission, and we are delighted by the enjoyment the decorations have provided.

“On behalf of Booth Hill School in Shelton, I would like to thank you once again for the beautiful Christmas wreath that was delivered to us yesterday. It is hanging in its very special spot, the door of the main office. It gives everyone that scent of Christmas and they pass in and out of our office. I know you work so hard to make this wonderful gift each year and wanted you all to know just how much it is appreciated.
“Thanks again, and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.”
-Mary Brotherton, Secretary at Booth Hill School


Shelton City Hall features several wreaths.  The first greets visitors from the overhead glass window above the double door entrance.  Others can be found in the Mayor’s Office.   Continue reading

December 2016 Meeting: Wreath-Making Workshop

Rich with history, symbolism, and aesthetic beauty, the wreath is a favorite decoration year-round.  The beginning of December welcomes boughs of fir, spruce, and holly to the wreath form — since ancient times, evergreens have served as symbols of life and strength against the bitter cold, snow, and ice.  We concluded our 40th year with our traditional wreath-making workshop using these botanical treasures of the winter season.

Wreath bases were purchased from Jones Tree Farm.

Early on the snowy morning of December 5th, members began by unloading more than two dozen dewy, natural wreath forms from a pickup truck.  These were stacked alongside piles of winterberry, holly, boxwood, white pine, pinecones, and twigs — in the spirit of our dedication to conservation, we used only all-natural clippings and trimmings.

Once members had selected their bases and trimmings, Continue reading

Bittersweet — A Warning for Connecticut Residents

Bittersweet Warning

The vine is unmistakable: pliable, curling tendrils with copious, small waxen berries covered in a yellow outer layer that pops open to reveal bright crimson.

Bittersweet has both winding, pliable tendrils and woody branches. Note the red berries with a yellow outer layer.

Bittersweet has both winding, pliable tendrils and woody branches. Note the red berries with a yellow outer layer.

Bittersweet is a popular autumn and winter decorating accent, given the ease with which it can be worked into wreaths and garland.  The tough, older stems have enough structure to also be useful in standing displays like urns and arrangements.

It is important to note, however, that Oriental or Asiatic Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is a non-native, highly invasive plant.  Since 2004, the state of Connecticut has prohibited the importation, sale, purchase, and cultivation of bittersweet.  Note that this includes transportation of bittersweet, either as live plants or within arrangements.  Fines for violations are set at $50 per plant.  The Connecticut law can be reviewed here.

Gardeners interested in a native alternative should look for winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata).  It can be found growing near water sources or at some garden centers.  Its bigger, bolder berries are also showier in arrangements!

For addition information on bittersweet, please see the following resources:

When choosing berry branches for holiday arrangements, the winterberry holly is a great, native alternative to bittersweet.

When choosing berry branches for holiday arrangements, the winterberry holly is a great, native alternative to bittersweet.